Ok, I had to do it. A post entitled Reasons… Part 3 for all you Ian Dury and the Blockheads fans out there. But for one fan in particular.
I first met John Kelly at a Disability Equality training session back when Bike Club was as new as a new pin. His passion for equality and access for all had a real effect on me. I also picked up that he was a massive Ian Dury fan. We kept in touch, as you do, on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @rockinpaddy. When I found out he’d landed a part in the Graeae Theatre Company production Reasons To Be Cheerful I was chuffed to bits. Singing Dury’s part in a raucous celebration of Ian’s finest music, hung upon a poignant father-and-son, coming-of-age love story, set in a pub! (I know, brilliant, eh?) What a job for a music-loving activist-singer from Sarf Landan! (that’s how they speak, by the way…) Surely things couldn’t get much better for one of the nice guys in life?
But I was wrong. After the success of the first run of the play, and with endorsements from the original Blockheads ringing in their ears, Reasons went on tour! So down to Hull I trooped to join the party, where I discovered that the rockin’, rockstar lifestyle rather suits wor John. Which is just as well, really. And again, life couldn’t get any better. Until…
…the Paralympics came a calling, and for five glorious minutes John Kelly was the most famous person on the planet. Hitting hard with the lyrics of Spasticus Autistics, (a song which when banned by the BBC prompted John to write in: “Dear Director General of the BBC, You’re a c**t.”) he and the cast were the talking point of the opening ceremony.
Finally, not content with world domination, John joined his heroes as bandmates, singing with the Blockheads at recent gigs.
What’s this got to do with a bike trip? Well, it goes to show me that when talent meets determination in a guy like John, the spectacular happens. And it shows me that a dream followed can be a dream realized. So I set off with dreams. A dream to ride to the horizon, and find the strength I need to do so along the way. To return and make my talents my living, and my lifestyle my job. The will to make the impossible merely improbable. And the improbable happens every day. Just ask John Kelly.